The Government and Politics of the European Union

Seventh edition

by Neill Nugent


Population 38.1 m
Capital Warsaw
Surface area 312,700 km2
Official Language Polish
Gross domestic product (GDP) (in euros) 536 bn
GDP as a % of EU-27, based on 2009 data 2.3
GDP per capita by purchasing power standards (indexed to EU average of 100) 57.6
Currency Zloty
Human development index (HDI), an index based on life expectancy, education and GDP (max. 1) 0.870
World rank in HDI 37/177
Key economic sectors (% of GDP in 2002) Services (63.9); industry (31.7); agriculture (4.4)
Leading Companies Pekao (bank); PKO bank; Telekomunikacja Polska
Unemployment in January 2010 8.9% (source:
Main religious denominations (numbers in millions) Roman Catholic (34.16); Polish Orthodox (0.51); Jehovah’s Witnesses (0.13)
Political system Semi-presidential system: The President is elected for a five-year term, and may appoint his/her own cabinet. The President can veto legislation (but not the budget) made by the parliament, to which there are elections every four years. A 100-member Senate also has the power of veto over proposed legislation.
Electoral system Proportional representation for parliament; two-ballot majoritarian system for presidential elections
Current (March 2010) leaders President: Lech Kaczynski (b. 1949), since December 2005
Prime Minister: Donald Tusk (b. 1957), since November 2007
Previous leaders: Presidents: Aleksander Kwasniewski (1995-2005); Lech Walesa (1990-95)
Prime ministers: Jaroslaw Kaczynski (2006-07); Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (2005-06); Marek Belka (2004-05)
Joined the EU/EC 2004
Commissioner from country in Barroso II College of Commissioners, and portfolio Janusz Lewandowski (Budget and Financial Programming)
Number of MEPs 51/754
Turnout in 2009 EP elections (%) 24.5
Member of eurozone No

Except where a specific reference is inserted, the sources for this profile are either Neill Nugent’s book itself, or Barry Turner (ed.), The Statesman’s Yearbook Online, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. If your library subscribes, you can gain access at